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Our Story Was Published In The Charlotte County Florida Weekly Newspaper

Our Story  By: BOB MASSEY 

New biz offers a ‘secret’ room, unique approach for marrying couples

January 17, 2019



“Happily ever after starts here,” is the tagline of Message in a Bottle Weddings and Vows.

For owner Krystal Marie Castillo, starting her business has been a bit of a fairy tale come true — but not like the kind where a fairy godmother appears and grants you your wish. No, Ms. Castillo’s journey was paved with hard work, tears, worry — and a whole lot of ambition. She started with a single table. Then added five chairs. She repainted the office twice, until she felt it was the right color.

And now she finally has a charming space where budget-conscious couples can get married without sacrificing quality.

In addition to fulfilling her dream of becoming a wedding planner, Ms. Castillo said she wanted to start a business in which her teenage daughters could be involved.

Message in a Bottle Weddings and Vows, perched on the second floor above Copperfish Books, is where the magic happens. And Ms. Castillo’s daughters are indeed part of it.

Alivia, 18, is a Charlotte Technical College student learning business management and also serves as editor of the Port Charlotte High School Pirate Page. She serves as the bilingual (Spanish and English) wedding officiant.

Alyssa, 16, is college student majoring in business management but is also a student at Charlotte Technical College, where she is enrolled in culinary and baking program. Her goal is to specialize in wedding cakes and specialty foods for weddings, with the intention of eventually owning her own bakery. With Message in a Bottle, she can also offer her services as a personal assistant to the bride on the day of the wedding.

Alivia, whose talents in business obviously extend into marketing and copywriting, labeled Message in a Bottle “The secret wedding room in downtown Punta Gorda” — and it really is just that.

The centerpiece of the office is a small, whimsically decorated chapel that seats as many as 16 in a crunch.

Ms. Castillo has a definite market in mind for this venue.


But I’ll let Alivia tell the story, pretty much as she wrote it:

“Skip the dull courthouse wedding! Instead, celebrate by having cake and champagne while overlooking downtown Punta Gorda, as confetti and fireworks shoot across the sky from the second-floor balcony — which is where Message In A Bottle Weddings and Vows office is located.

“Owner Krystal Marie Castillo’s dream was to have a charming little wedding chapel where couples could get married or renew their wedding vows. She wanted to give married-couples to-be a chance to consider other options before deciding to settle for less, such as a courthouse wedding.

“With a courthouse wedding, there’s no privacy and the intimate ceremony takes place in front of strangers. But Message in a Bottle offers a private wedding room with a beautiful, flower-filled wedding arch, candles (including an elegant chandelier) and decorated wedding chairs.

“Best of all, the couple can share this significant moment with the people they love, who can celebrate with them afterward.

“Any couple who wants to get married and has their Florida marriage license can come right on over.”

“Message in a Bottle will file all the other paperwork. With the legal burden aside, couples can concentrate on inviting friends and family to celebrate with cake and champagne, along with confetti flying off the second-floor balcony.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. 


And don’t assume the company’s ceremonies are confined to the office.

The trio is even capable of organizing beach weddings, complete with tiki torches and a bamboo flower arch.


Ms. Castillo credits her downstairs neighbors — Cathy Graham and Serena Wyckoff, owners of Copperfish Books — with encouraging her to see her company through. “I’ve already cried a million times, and Cathy said, ‘Don’t you dare give up, Krystal,’” Ms. Castillo said. “I have to make it. I can’t let my kids down.”

And with her creativity, compassion and energy, it’s all but certain she won’t let her clients down, either.

My guess is that Ms. Castillo and her daughters are well on their way to making their own “happily ever after.

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